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I’d not thought much about it before. But now I can identify the main reason I like creating art and graphics. It’s the gift of being able to enter into “the Zone…”
Recently, I was working on the computer creating a representation of a strawberry plant. As I was manipulating the pixels, this is what was going through my mind: “leaf, leaf, leaf, leaf, curve, curve, up, up, smooth, deepen green, add more yellow, contrast, no, lighter, stem, smooth the arc…” When I worked on the blooms, as I blended colors and shapes, I also imagined smelling their fragrance. This is the moment I suddenly “woke up” from my reverie and became conscious that I was in the state of DOING, not thinking—I was totally engaged in the moment, becoming fully engrossed within my creative endeavor. That’s when I grasped just how much I give myself over to this trance-like process.
After much consideration, I think “Entering the Zone” is a form of active meditation, a means of exercising the intuition (as opposed to the intellect). Whatever it’s called, I believe any artistic thing created with intent retains the artist’s energetic signature and it seems to have a lasting effect. To me, this comprises a sacred act. To impart to one’s art the qualities of what is aesthetically pleasing is special. I’m becoming more aware of how noticeable this energetic residue is to others.
The only other person I know who talked openly about “the Zone” was the cousin of a friend, an Indiana University professor of some renowned in computer language. At the time, a couple of large Texas corporations were courting him to work for them and offered three times his teaching salary. When I asked him why he stayed, he said that whenever he teaches, when he speaks he goes to a place where the words easily pour out of him. He enjoys being on the threshold so much that he would not trade the feeling of being in the Zone for anything. He’d really miss out if he simply worked at a desk all day.
Becoming consciously aware of the value of creating while in the Zone also means taking responsibility for the energy I impart. With Kathleen’s book, I was “there,” in timeless time during the entire creative process–open to Spirit and able to indulge my intuitive nature. Nothing‘s left to chance. Symbolic content was also streaming in. Deciding to illustrate her book using appropriate symbols served to contribute another layer of meaning to Kathleen’s book.
Well, something must have clicked just right because of the book’s phenomenal success just within the first few weeks of being electronically published. Even though the Kindle version has been available for two years, the book has been blessed with unprecedented sales. Maybe it is simply Kathleen’s time to shine. In this case, I’m glad to have been a catalyst. But maybe, just maybe, the energetic is a powerful factor in its success.
But there is a downside of being in the Zone. And that is it can become physically detrimental over the long haul. For the sake of one’s vision, every twenty minutes you are supposed to look up and re-focus the eyes at something in the distance. But all too often, I’ll be submerged for hours. Once I “come up for air,” I have to make a point of standing up and walking around.
One miscellaneous comment: when I am in the creative Zone, the cat loves to sit on my lap. It’s as if he is riding the creative wave with me. Perhaps he might even be actively accommodating it.
Among the things I learned from my late husband is the extreme importance of finishing things. I’m thinking in terms of creativity and writing. Over a long period of time, I witnessed a repeating pattern in my writer husband. Always, in the beginning, he would be enthralled with a great idea for a book. As the excitement or the newness wore off, invariably so did his interest. Often, when he would be more than half-way through, he would get inspired to begin anew. Then, he’d go along at a consistent pace and maybe get a little further along before stopping and determining the material of the book actually required a different treatment. Usually during the third version, I’d discover he’d abandoned it completely in favor of chasing after another idea for a book to write. I never knew him to revisit any of his nearly-completed manuscripts.
Perhaps some people cannot finish things for reasons of their stars, up-bringing or life lessons. One thing is for sure: there is no sense of accomplishment when you are a great starter but do not finish the race. I recently observed this same tendency in my sister who had recently been bitten by the writing bug. She would stop before she started and rewrite. I don’t know how many different versions of chapter one she’d rewritten. Too many. I advised her to silence the critic/editor inside her head. Insist that internal interfering and disruptive editor go take a hike. Now is the time for the writer in her to flourish, unimpeded.
After listening to her other concerns, I knew she was making her doubts interfere on another level. She was fretting about marketing and self-publishing and what if this and what if that… Daunting, that is how she described what she was going through. No wonder she felt depleted, low-energy, disheartened and uninspired.
I advised her to allow herself to remember the reasons why her book was important to begin with. I said, “Reconnect with that impulse to create and allow the purity of your original motivation to allow your genius to soar. Do not concern yourself with practical matters. That comes later, much later. For now, write the book. Work on your craft. Persevere. When you feel resistance, push against it to achieve success.”
The process of writing a book is arduous. The task is long and challenging enough without the extra stress of worry. Fire that critic inside you if he tries to usurp the creative process. Silence any dissenting voices. Banish any doubts. Make no room for negativity. Concentrate on recovering the joy in the doing. Then bless the world with your creation.
I write this as a recovering procrastinator. I write this for the times I’ll need to be reminded that the way out of the unproductive, maze of self-doubt is simply by finding joy in the doing.